This morning 12 scuba divers scoured the sea floor off East End Beach looking for trash and debris which they brought to the shore for collection by the city of Portland. One diver estimated that about 75 to 100 lbs. of debris had been recovered as well as one lobster trap.
The event, in conjunction with the city, was sponsored by three dive clubs; Paradise Divers; the University of Southern Maine, scuba dive club; and the Maineiac Divers, Portland.
Ken Sparta, of the newly formed Paradise Club, and his nephew Dan, brought up the lobster trap together. Ken said he found about six or so other lobster traps buried in mud at the bottom that could not be removed from it. He’d find a rope and follow it until it led him to a trap he couldn’t budge. Jeff Mauro, from Connecticut, said he found mostly bottles and broken glass. Dan Sparta said the divers went about 100 – 200 ft, off shre at most. The divers could stay under for about 50 minutes and the depth was 15 – 20 ft. at most.
All agreed that the underwater visibility was not good, but they weren’t surprised. The bottom is very silty largely because of the heavy boat traffic which kicks up the bottom. Among divers East End Beach is not known as a good dive spot because of the poor visibility. However, “a bad day of diving is better than a good day at work,” said Greg Cavanaugh, of the USM Club, laughing.
Another diver, Corey Letourneau, Oxford Hills, said: “We will definitely come back next year and do it again. Most of the debris was around the jetty. Maybe we’ll move our dive spot a little next year.”